My bulimia fight can inspire others - rugby star Hannah
Sports star Hannah Tyrell hopes opening up about her struggle with bulimia will give others "hope that recovery is possible".
Hannah, who was a gifted GAA star with the Dublin senior ladies football team before joining the Irish ladies international rugby team as a winger two years ago, is urging those suffering from mental health issues to talk about their problems.
The 25-year-old struggled with bulimia and anorexia nervosa throughout her teenage years.
"I had this deep, internal hatred of myself," Hannah said. "I had a very low body image and low self-confidence. I thought I wasn't skinny enough or good enough."
As her condition worsened she began to self harm.
But, thankfully, she turned a corner when she began working as a trainee psychiatric nurse at the age of 19.
Hannah recognised she had a problem and turned to Pieta House, a non-profit counselling service for help and guidance. It was through their counselling and a brief stint at St Patrick's Hospital that she got on the road to recovery.
Now, Hannah hopes her story will offer solace to others.
She also wants to spread the word that recovery is possible and encourages people going though difficult time to talk about their problems.
"I hope my story can give people hope that recovery is possible," she said.
The Clondalkin native is happy to visit schools and talk to students about overcoming mental health issues.
Hannah was the keynote speaker at Ireland's first conference on self-harm yesterday, sponsored by Pieta House and St Patrick's Mental Health Services.
She is hoping to bring home a medal if the Irish international ladies rugby team qualifies for the Rio Olympics in August.
Pieta House praised her for her "remarkably frank, poignant but ultimately uplifting account" of coping with mental health issues.